If I’d written you a Daily Journal entry yesterday, you’d have sent me flowers. Or called me a psychopharmacologist.
First of all, I was underslept. It doesn’t sound much like work, but I stayed up well through and after the Oscar telecast directing the efforts of my west coast colleagues. I nodded off well after one.
And … cue the clock radio.
Yeah, so, like fifteen minutes after I went to sleep, it’s morning. WNYC was talking up a massive snow storm. Great! Into work …
Work. How to explain? Well, um … example: it’s 3:39 p.m. right now and I’m eating lunch. A lunch punctuated by colleagues with questions at my door, my phone ringing, and my inbox filling. I know, cry me a river, Mr. Executive Producer.
Lemme’ back up a little. This broadband project, without saying too much and getting myself canned (oh wait, maybe that would be a good thing), is epic. It is a complete sea change (n. a marked transformation) in the way MTV News — Can I just say this real quick? If Goldner knocks on my door one more time I’m going to punch him in the nose. Kidding, of course. — As I was saying. It’s a complete upheaval in how the department works. Twenty-six new hires. Five new Avid bays. Tons more updating. Now, it’s not entirely my problem. There are many great minds behind this (including Goldner’s). But getting it online is my problem.
So. It’s 7:38 p.m. last night. I’m in a conference room on the 29th floor of 1515 Broadway. It’s a complete white out beyond the windows. I’ve slept five hours. I’ve eaten nothing but a salad. And with every elapsed moment, the scope of the project becomes bigger and bigger. “So we could do this? Great! Let’s do that!” Every new idea — great new ideas to be sure — is a night of lost sleep. Every new idea is a year off my life. So the thought pops into my head, ‘What else could I do for a living? Could I work in a coffee shop? Could I deliver pizzas? Could I be a bartender?”
Top all that off with six inches of blowing snow, and a hundred CDs I have to make by hand. I mean, I couldn’t be more thrilled or grateful that so many of you were interested in hearing the live recording from Friday night, “February 25, 2005.” But when was it, exactly, that I thought I’d be mass-producing them? By hand!?! With a broken color printer! (Fortunately, my darling friend Michelle is assisting me as we speak — you’ll have yours by week’s end.)
I was talking to my boss just before lunch. He’s pretty overwhelmed as well, and certainly sees my anxiety. “Keep breathing,” he reminds me. But his best advice to me is on a piece of plain white paper taped above his desk. It reads:
The fates lead he who will; he who won’t, they drag.
“So what do you want to do?” he asked. “Do you want to put your shoulders back, hold your head high, and move forward? Or do you want to be dragged?”
So I stepped out for lunch and absolutely cranked “Baba O’ Riley” in my headphones. I’m walking down 44th Street looking up at the sky, and the storm was literally clearing before my eyes. The clouds, thick gray and blue bruises, were shifting. And I swear to God, I turned the corner onto Eighth Avenue and ran headlong into the sun. I looked straight into it, and breathed for the first time since Sunday. And I thought, “Ok, it’ll be allright.”